You can buy rug patterns at any rug hooking company, but what if you want to design your own?
The easiest way I have found for getting my design on linen is to begin with a large piece of paper, large enough to accommodate the entire design. I draw the design using a pencil, so that I can erase and change or move things. As soon as I am satisfied with my pencil drawing, I draw over all the lines with a Sharpie pen.
I then lay fiberglass window screen over the paper (you can buy window screen by the roll at a hardware store) and trace over all my lines with the Sharpie pen. Now I have transferred exactly what I drew on paper to the window screen.
I lay the window screen on the linen, and trace over the lines again with the Sharpie pen. Now I have transferred exactly what I drew on paper to the linen. Once I remove the window screen, I go over the lines one more time with the Sharpie pen.
I like to use window screen for my transferring because it is durable. It doesn’t stretch or wrinkle, and I can repeat the pattern dozens of times if I want to. Since I sell my rug designs, it is important for me to be able to replicate the design exactly, so the window screen works great. But even if it is a one-off design, the window screen method is the easiest and most foolproof way to get exactly what I drew on paper onto my linen.
You might be a little apprehensive to draw on your backing with a permanent marker. What if you make a mistake? What if you change your mind? Not to worry. The design you draw on the linen does not show on the hooked piece, so you can redraw or change things all you want. Even if you feel like you ended up with a jumbled mess on the linen, you can always flip the fabric over and start again.
You need to use a permanent marker, as opposed to pencil, chalk or other tracing ink, because you don’t want the lines to fade or rub off while you are hooking. Also, if you use a different kind of marker or paint, there is a chance that the color will bleed into the rug when it is washed. So use that Sharpie pen, it works great.
What if you want to enlarge a smaller image, like a photograph, to make your design? Just take the photo, either in hard copy or in digital form, to your local copy shop that has a large copy machine. At my local Office Depot, they have a machine that will copy on paper that is 36″ wide and any length, which works well for most of my designs. (Occasionally I need to enlarge a drawing or photograph to a finished width of greater than 36″. In that case, I can have copies made of two halves of my photograph, which I can combine.) You may need to experiment with enlargements until you get the size you want for your design.
Once you are happy with your enlargement on paper, go over all the important features with a Sharpie pen.
Transfer the lines to the window screen, then move the window screen to the linen and trace them again.
Then when you remove the window screen, go over the lines again with the Sharpie pen on the linen, so they give you a clear guide.
(Do be aware that if you are adapting a design that is not your own, you need to obtain permission from the original artist.)
Before I sit down to hook on my design, I take the linen to my sewing machine. I zig zag the cut edges of the linen, so they don’t become frayed during the hooking process. And while I’m at the sewing machine, I like to do a running stitch all around the outside edge of my design. This stabilizes the linen, so it keeps its shape on the hooked edges.
I will be teaching a Beginning Rug Hooking class on June 21, 9-noon, at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon. This class will include instruction for hooking both with yarn and fabric strips.
Check out the Featured Rug of the Month at http://www.littlehouserugs.com/featured-rug-celtic-knot-june-2015.html. Followers of this blog can get the pattern on linen for 20% off until June 30, 2015 at http://hstrial-jtaylor9.homestead.com/blog-special-june-2015.html.
And don’t forget that for every $50 you spend at Little House Rugs this year, you will be entered to win the Victorian Santa (a $165.00 value!). The drawing will take place on November 25, 2015.
Next month’s topic: Cleaning, Care and Repair of Hooked Rugs